Nicky and I chose to host our wedding ceremony, cocktail hour and reception at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington DC. The Plaza evokes fond memories for us both, as we often spend a weekend ensconced in one of their lovely suites just to "get away" from the drudgery of chores and laundry.
Our wedding coordinator at the Plaza was Beverly Houston. Beverly has been a wedding coordinator for 18 years and her experience was evident from our first meeting. She knew all of the right questions to ask, including questions I had not even thought of. Our first exchange was by e-mail and she answered all of my questions and posed many of her own. Beverly was prompt with her response. It is here I would like to point out that many hotels I enquired with via e-mail (The Mandarin Oriental, the St. Regis) never contacted me, nor did their wedding "department" answer the phone or return my phone calls.
The Plaza offers wedding packages and we were able to tweak one of their packages to fit our needs. In our case, many of our friends do not drink, so we did not want an open bar for 4 hours. When I was concerned about waiting until January to conduct our food tasting (it was August), Beverly invited me to lunch to try many of the items I envisioned on our wedding menu. After tasting the food, I was convinced that the Washington Plaza was perfect for our wedding. While some people may not want their ceremony and reception to take place in the same location, we had several out of town guests and thought having one central location would be easiest on those guests, many of whom stayed at the hotel during the wedding weekend.
After leaving our deposit in August, we were able to pay as much as we wanted on a monthly or weekly basis between August and March. As a result, our wedding was almost paid off when the big day arrived. I thought this was particularly helpful and it helped our budget as well.
The Plaza's restaurant was able to accomodate a group of 30+ for both our rehearsal dinner as well as for the breakfast buffet the morning of the wedding. They graciously accomodated "last minute" guests for both events and even printed menus for our rehearsal dinner, as guests had choices for our three course meal. The food throughout the weekend was spectacular. I did not hear one negative comment regarding the food that was served the entire weekend, including the meal that was served at our wedding reception. Nicky and I loved our tasting in January, but were worried that the hotel may not be able to duplicate the level of quality of our food when multiplied by 100. We now know we had absolutely nothing to worry about. I would like to note also that the portions of everything we ordered were beyond generous, including very large sirloin steaks and slices of chocolate cake large enough to serve 4 people.
In addition to all of the accolades noted above, I wanted to say a word about the staff in general. Everyone, from the bellmen to the maids, was extremely helpful and friendly. They worked hard to ensure that we all were happy and went out of their way to be of assistance. So much so that many of our guests commented on the congeniality and helpfulness of the staff.
In short, I would highly recommend hosting your next event at the Washington Plaza hotel.
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